Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.
Last Published: 2/17/2019

Import Licenses

The GBRV is responsible for issuing import permits, import licenses, and product registrations.  The Ministry of Agriculture and Lands issues SPS health import permits for imported products of plant or animal origin; the Ministry of Food issues import permits and licenses for food products; and the health ministry (MINSALUD) grants registration for all domestic and imported processed food products.  Foods not registered in the country of origin cannot be registered in Venezuela.

As the government has become more involved in directly importing food products, import licensing requirements have been relaxed to simplify and expedite the process.  There are “one-stop” service points at the Ministry of Agriculture and Lands and sanitary permits are supposed to be issued within seven days.  However, in reality these permits can take longer.  The validity of import licenses for a certain group of food products considered essential, as defined by the government, are valid for six-month to one-year periods.  Import licenses are valid for three to four months for non-essential products. Examples include milk, cheese, sorghum, soybean oil, medicine, and vaccines.

Certificates of Non-Production and Certificates of Insufficient Production

A certificate of non-production and a certificate of insufficient production are normally required for almost all -agricultural and non-agricultural goods.  In the case of wheat, the Certificate of No-Production (CNP) is simply a bureaucratic process since Venezuela does not produce wheat.  Arms and explosives require an import permit from the Ministry of Defense (see the Prohibited or Restricted Imports section).  Import certificates might be required for certain products subject to special supervision.  Exporters should note that foreign exchange approval procedures effectively impose import permits for those wishing to avail themselves of foreign exchange at the official rates, a considerable price advantage compared to accessing foreign exchange through the parallel market (see the Foreign Exchange section of the document).

Import/Export Documentation

Venezuelan customs requires that all documents be in Spanish.  The invoice must be the typewritten original, not a photocopy.  The manifest of importation and declaration of value (bill of lading) must be in quadruplicate.

The following documents are required:  commercial invoice; bill of lading or airway bill; packing list; certificate of origin; and special certificates or permits when required (e.g., phytosanitary or quality standards certificates).  Exporters should consult with the Venezuelan importer regarding what documentation is required in addition to the invoice.

Exporters should quote CIF and Free on Board (FOB) prices for Venezuela.  Insurance and freight must be listed separately on the invoice.  The invoice must be in duplicate and list both the value per unit and the total value of the shipment.  The description of the merchandise must include the appropriate tariff number, which the importer can supply.  To simplify the import process for a large amount of cargo for one project, there should be a single declaration for all items, and each item then listed separately with its respective tariff number.
Exporters should be aware that independent analysts believe some Venezuelan importers engage in over-invoicing to acquire foreign currency at the official exchange rate.  This is illegal under Venezuelan law and exporters should not cooperate with such attempts by importers since detection could jeopardize the company’s receivable and endanger future exports to Venezuela.

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Venezuela Market Access Trade Development and Promotion